Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Decision-Making Guide

Your strong recommendation is a critical factor in whether your patients get a flu shot.

Most adults believe vaccines are important, but they need a reminder from you to get vaccinated. After making your recommendation, follow up with each patient during subsequent appointments to ensure the patient received a flu shot. If the patient still is unvaccinated, repeat the recommendation and try to identify and address their questions or concerns.

Frequently asked questions and answers about the flu vaccine:


Flu Vaccine

No Flu Vaccine

What does the flu shot involve?

You will receive one shot in your arm every year. The best time to get vaccinated is in September or October each year.

The decision not to have a flu vaccination results in a higher risk of contracting influenza virus. Flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

To prevent contracting flu avoid contact with sick people, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water.

What are the benefits of getting the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine can prevent you from getting sick with the flu.

If you do get flu, the vaccine will reduce the severity of the illness.

Flu vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization associated with the flu.

The flu vaccine significantly reduces the risk of children dying from flu.

The flu vaccine helps to protect pregnant people during and after pregnancy.

Getting vaccinated helps protect people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.

You will not have side effects from the vaccine.

What are the short-term side effects?

Common mild side effects within the first few days after vaccination can include:

  • soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the site of the shot
  • mild headache
  • mild fever
  • mild muscle aches
  • possible nausea
  • mild fatigue

Many people get no side effects at all.

Serious side effects are rare.

You are at higher risk of contracting flu. The flu virus can cause mild to severe illness and even death.

Symptoms of flu can include some or all of the following:

  • fever, chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • congestion
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • vomiting and diarrhea

What are the potential complications?

Serious complications related to vaccination are rare. The flu vaccine does not cause the flu.

Some people who contract the flu virus will develop complications, some of which can be life threatening.

Complications can include pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle and multi-organ failure.

Anyone with a serious allergic reaction in the past should talk with their healthcare provider before getting any vaccine.

If a member has any questions about their health plan benefits, they can call Member Services at the number on the back of their health plan ID card.